There is simply no honest way to make the “argument” that Republicans secretly support gun control and have been lying about it for decades, as a letter to the editor in the Herald-Times did earlier this month. Following up on my previous post, it is useful to include a couple key sentences from a letter to the editor that falsely accused Republicans of misrepresenting their opposition to gun control:
Republican politicians lie. A prime example — gun rights, where they bank NRA money, then double-cross their donors.
Why have “red” leaders lied to Second Amendment supporters for 48 years?
These two statements are very clearly an indictment of all Republicans as gun control supporters. The author backs up this argument with the highly misleading and dishonest claim that “Republicans” joined Democrats to pass the Brady Law and the Assault Weapons Ban. As I documented previously, a large majority of Republicans in the House and Senate voted against both laws.
Furthermore, as I explained in my previous post, using the other two examples is simply dishonest. Governor Reagan signing legislation to ban open carry in California in 1967, before 60% of Americans were even born, is completely irrelevant to the Republican position on gun control today or over the last thirty years. In addition, virtually no one supports an unlimited “right” to own any weapon you want, so citing the ban on fully-automatic weapons (already strictly restricted since 1934) signed by President Reagan in 1986 was also a dishonest means of accusing Republicans of “lying” about their position on gun control.
So here is the obvious question: Why was this letter published? When the H-T sends an email to confirm authorship of a letter, the text says that letters with incorrect facts “will not be printed.” The facts presented in the September 6 letter were clearly incorrect. We hear a lot about “fake news” on social media, but those services are platforms where users can post things without the content getting screened first. A newspaper has no such excuse when it comes to letters to the editor published in the print edition.
By the Herald-Times’ own often-stated standards, this letter not have been printed. As we get deeper into a very acrimonious election season, the newspaper needs to do a better job screening letters to the editor for false information. The mainstream media holds a higher responsibility to refrain from publishing and broadcasting fake news than any social media platform.
Previously: Roll call votes are public information.